Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic Earns European Inventor Award by Popular Acclaim

Jun 23 2021 | By Jesse Adams | Credit: Andreas Hofweber/Columbia Engineering
Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, University Professor and the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences

In an online ceremony on June 21, the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, Germany, awarded Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic the Popular Prize of this year’s European Inventor Award. Presented annually, the prestigious honor recognizes outstanding inventors making exceptional contributions around the world.

A University Professor and the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences, Vunjak-Novakovic was overwhelmingly selected by popular vote among 15 accomplished candidates. The Serbian-American scientist, who directs the Laboratory For Stem Cells And Tissue Engineering, was cited for opening “new horizons in regenerative medicine by developing a way of growing new tissue ex vivo (outside the body) using the patient's own cells . . . with a ground-breaking approach [that] offers a safer, more precise and less intrusive way of performing facial reconstruction, and holds promise for replacing damaged lung and heart tissue.”

The award underlines how innovation can make an impact almost everywhere, notes EPO President António Campinos: "After an incredibly challenging year, public enthusiasm for Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic’s invention also reflects a firm optimism that human creativity, passion for innovation, and ingenuity will help us move towards a brighter future.”